Reeling In Abuse

How Conservation Tools Can Help Combat Forced Labor Imports in the Seafood Industry

The seafood industry sits at the intersection of at least four U.S. government priorities: environmental conservation, national security, food safety, and human rights. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing destroys fragile ocean ecosystems, weakens maritime-domain awareness, funds transnational criminal enterprises, undermines food safety standards, and creates a market for seafood harvested or processed using forced labor and human trafficking.

As one of the world’s largest economies and importers of seafood, the United States has outsized influence in ending IUU fishing and the use of forced labor by seafood companies in their business operations and supply chains. Over the past 10 years, the United States has adopted new programs and approaches to combat IUU fishing for conservation purposes; these efforts have produced valuable data and lessons learned that can support U.S. government efforts to end forced labor in the seafood industry and beyond, and specifically to prevent goods produced with forced labor from entering U.S. markets.

This report was made possible through a grant from the World Wildlife Fund.

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Marti Flacks
Khosravi Chair in Principled Internationalism and Director, Human Rights Initiative

Jacqueline Lewis

Legal and Policy Fellow, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)

David McKean

Deputy Director, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)